- The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge by Charlie Lovett (Viking, 2015).
What if the newly redeemed Scrooge had remained so constantly filled with Christmas cheer all year long that people started to consider him a pain in the neck? Furthermore, what if Scrooge had decided to try to redeem his old friend Jacob Marley as well? Bestselling author Charlie Lovett tackles these questions in this delightful little novella. He cleverly incorporates, paraphrases, and repurposes much of Dickens's own phrasing from A Christmas Carol and various other works, in this story that sees a turned-around Scrooge turning the tables on many familiar (and now slightly jaded) figures from the original book. Well written, thought-provoking, and great fun.
- The Humbug Murders: An Ebenezer Scrooge Mystery by L. J. Oliver (Pocket Books, 2015).
Some years before the events of A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by a different ghost -- the ghost of his recently murdered former employer, Mr. Fezziwig. Ebenezer is also visited by someone who, to his mind, is almost as troubling: a young woman seeking employment as a clerk. The two visits send him off on a wild chase after a desperate criminal, taking him to some of the most wretched spots in London. The premise is definitely interesting, but I felt the author (or authors -- I understand there were two of them under the one pen name) didn't take full advantage of it. The characterizations felt uneven, many passages were overwritten, and I found the mystery rather hard to follow. On the plus side, we get to spend time with many characters from other Dickens books, such as Fagin, Dodger, and John Jasper, along with Dickens himself in his days as a young reporter looking for a good story. There are some clever touches here, but on the whole I didn't find the story very compelling, and some of the more sordid passages are not for the faint of heart.
- Fezziwig: A Life by Danny Kuhn (Knox Robinson Publishing, 2015)
Here, Mr. Fezziwig gets to take center stage, writing down the events of his life for his daughters. The book is meticulously researched, and through Fezziwig's colorful life, including his childhood and youth on a small farm, his early experiences of injustice and widespread social change, his business concerns, his travels, and his interest in science, we get to see a very wide variety of 18th-century British life. He's even given friendships with the likes of Samuel Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin's father, and George Washington's brother. The author successfully captures the voice of a prosperous elderly Georgian businessman: a bit complacent and self-satisfied, but also benevolent, kind, and gracious, with every now and then a sly surprise up his sleeve. Scrooge doesn't appear until near the end, and we don't get a lot of him then, but Kuhn cleverly prefigures his future through repetitions of Fezziwig's own creed, which is that he just wants to be "left alone." Fezziwig adopts this creed out of his desire for tolerance for himself and others, regardless of religious and political beliefs, but over the years it evolves into the kind of stubborn mantra that makes it ideal for adoption and perversion by Scrooge. The book is sure to appeal to those interested in this fascinating historical period, along with fans of Dickens's original character.